27 Amendments Explained (Part 1)
The United States has a very long, intricate legal history. After the Constitution was created, there have been 27 amendments, with the first ten — better known as the Bill of Rights — which have been debated, disputed, and implemented throughout all 50 states. Aside from the more notable and popular amendments, the first, second and thirteenth, most Americans don’t actually know much about the remaining twenty-four. Learn something new today by reading our summary of each constitutional amendment:
- First Amendment: Easily one of the most famous, this amendment ensures that each citizen has the freedom to practice and follow their own religion. Likewise, this also includes the freedom of speech, freedom of the press from governmental infringement, and the right to assemble (or protest).
- Second Amendment: Probably the most heavily contested of the amendments is the right to keep and bear arms. This ensures that anyone who wants to own a firearm, or who already owns a firearm, will not have their right to keep them taken away.
- Third Amendment: This establishes that during times of war, only those who allow soldiers to sleep in their homes may do so. Before this amendment, soldiers could sleep in whatever home they wanted to, even without the owner’s consent.
- Fourth Amendment: This amendment gives more power to the people in that it prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures from taking place at any given moment. The key word here is “unreasonable.” It also states that if there was a reason to perform a search and seizure that one would have to obtain a search warrant, based on a number of requirements including probable cause.
- Fifth Amendment: This amendment is more of a check on our current legal system. In effect, this law prohibits legal abuse from the government in legal proceedings. It also protects citizens from being tried twice for the same crime, which is known as double-jeopardy and establishes the right of due process.
- Sixth Amendment: Following sentiment of the Fifth Amendment, the sixth establishes that every person is guaranteed the right to a speedy, public jury trial. It also enforced to let the accused know the initial accusation, the accuser, as well as lets them find a counsel and witnesses.